ACT results for juniors show improvement, gains

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Results from the 2010 administration of the ACT to Kentucky’s public school juniors show improvements in all subject areas and higher percentages of students ready for college-level coursework.

Overall, Kentucky juniors improved their average composite ACT score from 18.2 in 2009 to 18.5 in 2010. Scores improved in English (17.3 in 2009 to 17.8 in 2010), mathematics (18.2 to 18.3), reading (18.4 to 18.9) and science (18.5 to 18.7).

The percentage of students prepared for college-level courses, based on ACT benchmarks, also improved in three of four subjects. The percent improved from 46 to 49 percent in English composition, 21 to 22 percent in algebra and 30 to 35 percent in social science. Fifteen percent of students were prepared for biology, compared to 16 percent the previous year.

“We are beginning to see the benefits of an early focus on college and career readiness; however, there is much work remaining,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Beginning in 2010-11, as mandated by 2009’s Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), high schools across the commonwealth are required to partner with postsecondary institutions to provide interventions that will ensure more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. The emphasis of SB 1 is on target with the national focus to regain our competitive edge in the percentage of adults who have postsecondary degrees. The economy of our commonwealth and our nation depends on our ability to improve the education levels of the workforce, and this begins with a focus on college- and career-ready graduates.

“In September, KDE released information that shows the percentages of public high school graduates who are college- and career-ready. I feel certain our administrators, teachers, parents and students will rise to the challenge of making even greater improvements in the future.”

As mandated by KRS 158.6453, all of Kentucky’s public school juniors participate in the ACT, which assesses English, reading, mathematics and science and is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The cost of the exam is paid for by state funds. In spring 2010, 44,390 public school juniors took the ACT.

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